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Ikarie XB-1 (Voyage to the End of the Universe)

Thu 13 September 2018

Jindrich Polak, Czechoslovakia 1963, 86min, English subtitles

With Zdeněk Štěpánek, František Smolík, Dana Medřická.
Set design Jan Zázvorka, Costumes Ester Krumbachová, Jan Skalický and Vladimír Synek.
With an introduction by Marketa Uhlirova

Ikarie XB-1 is an ambitious science fiction space opera, possibly best known for prefiguring many visual and thematic motifs of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Made in the midst of the Cold War, this ‘Space Marienbad’, as one critic called it, epitomises the era’s raging space race and cultural competition between the East and the West. The film portrays an idealised communist civilisation circa 2163, as it embarks on a voyage beyond our solar system. Its real protagonist is a monumental discovery spaceship, a self-contained world in miniature designed to impress the world with its vision of a highly advanced lifestyle, as imagined by a small socialist country. Its 22nd century costumes are no less steeped in the ideology of utopianism, something that is especially driven home when ‘ancient people’ of the 20th century are discovered deep in space.

The film will be introduced by Marketa Uhlirova, an art historian with an interest in the display, representation and mediation of fashion and dress, especially in the moving image. In 2005 she co-founded the Fashion in Film Festival, the first major exhibition, research and education project to explore the common ground between the worlds of fashion, cinema and art. Her film programmes have been hosted by arts venues internationally, including Tate Modern, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Barbican, BFI Southbank, Danish Film Institute and Museum of the Moving Image, New York. She is currently co-curating, with Tom Gunning, the 10th anniversary festival season entitled ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’, for February/March 2017. Since 2006 Uhlirova has edited Fashion in Film's publications, including, most recently, Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle (2013, winner of The Most Beautiful Swiss Book Award in 2014) and Marcel L'Herbier: Dossier (2014, with Caroline Evans). Her articles and book chapters have appeared in publications including Aperture, Art Monthly, AnOther, Fashion Theory, Fashion Media: Past & Present (ed. D. Bartlett, S. Cole and A. Rocamora, 2014), and Czech Cinema Revisited: Politics, Genres, Techniques (ed. L. Česálková, 2016).

Ikarie XB-1 is screened as part of the event programme for CCA's upcoming exhibition A Weakness for Raisins, on the life and work of Ester Krumbachová,which runs from 8 December - 27 January. More information on the exhibition can be found at the CCA website.

The exhibition and film programme is organized by CCA Glasgow and Are | are-events.orgin collaboration with Panel and in partnership with Glasgow Film Theatre; Czech Centre London; Czech Film Fund; National Film Archive, Prague; BIONAUT; The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague; Czech Television; MAP Magazine; and Second Run; and supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Prague City Hall, and the Czech Centre London.